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Congress to Limit Prisoner Suits

A comprehensive civil justice reform bill has been introduced in the Senate by Charles Grassley (R-IA). S.585, the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1993, would establish a modified English rule on attorney fees in federal diversity cases. The amount the loser would have to pay would be limited to the amount of his or her own fees, and the court would be given broad discretion to limit the amount to prevent injustice. The bill would also require 30 days advance notice of intent to sue. Prisoners with civil rights cases would be required to first exhaust their administrative remedies before filing suit in federal court.

The bill would also establish a statutory offer of judgement rule, pursuant to which either party could offer a settlement to another party at any point in the litigation. Finally, the bill would limit the parties to one expert witness on a given issue. 1993 WL 73183 (pp. 8-18).

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